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Apologetics: The Role of An Apologist Examined

Peace & Blessings Beloved,

TGBTG for allowing us to see another day. I pray all is well with you and yours, and that your week has been fruitful & blessed thus far.

In our second to last post we were introduced to Christian Apologetics, which is defined as the science of giving a defense of the Christian faith. We were able to identify what it means to us as Christians, its importance in evangelism, and how we can effectively implement it in defense of our faith. Today we're going to examine more deeply the role of the apologist.

An apologist is a person involved in apologetics, a branch of theology concerned with the defense of the faith. An apologist hones his ability to defend the Christian faith by presenting proofs from the Bible, logic, and other empirical & intellectual sources. As we iterated in the initial post, 1 Peter 3:15 could well be considered an apologist’s theme verse: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

Next, let's take a look at some examples of apologists, past and present.

The apostle Paul was a skilled apologist. In Thessalonica, he “went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead” (Acts 17:2–3, emphasis added). Soon after that, Paul was in Athens speaking at the Areopagus with Greek philosophers (Acts 17:22–24). He also defended the gospel before kings, pressing them for a response (Acts 26:26–28). Apologists must be quite knowledgeable of the Scriptures and Christian doctrines. Some examples of renowned Christian apologists are Norman Geisler, Josh McDowell, William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel, Daniel B. Wallace, R.C Sproul, J. Warner Wallace, Anthony Rogers, & Ravi Zacharias. In a sense, all Christians should be apologists. Every believer should be able to give a well-reasoned presentation of the faith (1 Peter 3:15; 2 Timothy 2:25). This doesn’t mean everyone needs to be an expert in apologetics, but believers should know the what, why, and how in sharing their beliefs with those who ask. And we should know the Bible well enough to defend our faith against attacks from unbelievers. More than ever, the Christian community is being challenged and opposed by society. And sadly, we’re also finding the foundations of church doctrine being attacked from within. Some within the church pervert the Scriptures “to suit their own desires, [gathering] around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3; Revelation 2:20). Studies conducted by the Barna Group and USA Today found that nearly 75 percent of Christian young people leave the church after high school. Some of the main reasons for this falling away have to do with intellectual skepticism, attacks upon their faith by godless professors, and relentless peer pressure to enjoy the things of the world (1 John 2:15–16). Training in apologetics may help curb some of this spiritual attrition. At the core of Christian apologetics is the hope we have within us (1 Peter 3:15), and Jesus is the cause of that hope (see Titus 2:13). Jesus gives us the promise that “whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven” (Matthew 10:32; 2 Timothy 1:8). Though the defense of our faith should be confident and unyielding, we are to engage in apologetics with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). “The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful” (2 Timothy 2:24). We must speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). It’s not enough for an apologist to have a knowledge of Scripture; he must love people, too. The goal of apologetics is not to win arguments but to lead people to a knowledge of the truth that will set them free (John 8:32). “Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:25–26).

Moving forward, we're going to take a deeper look into the various types of apologetics, historically speaking, and bring it to present day apologetics.

May we establish, nurture, and grow a sincere love for the word of God, and study it lovingly & faithfully.

I pray you receive this with the love intended, and apply it to wisdom.

Love you much.

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Blessed!

-Humble Servant

P.S- If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ, I implore you to take the time to do so right now. Use John 3:16 & Romans 10:9-10 as a foundation for making your confession of faith. And use Ephesians 2:1-10 to provide proper context for your salvation.

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